Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Rock n Roll Hi Fives, Gold Glitter Shoes, 2015

EP Review

Music -- For me, it's rock and roll; for you, it may be something else. -- is one of those cool things that we humans have invented that joins us together. It's one of those things like art or, for some people, religion that makes you realize you're part of something bigger. You can listen to some bit of music that you love; and the little annoyances of the day -- that uncomfortable meeting at work, traffic, belligerent customers -- all shrink down to their actual size for a few minutes. You're able to see them as the truly meaningless little things they are, if only for a short time. And, in a weird way, by helping us understand the "bigness" of being human beings, music can also help us connect on a smaller level.

That's how I feel when I listen to the Rock n Roll Hi Fives. From the first spaced-out sounds of "Planets" that open Gold Glitter Shoes, the edges of my mouth start to curl upwards. By the time 13 year-old Eilee Centeno is throwing in that little vocal squeak at the end of "It's you-ooo..." or by the time she's shouting "Leaving me dizz-aaaay," I've broken into a full-on smile.

"What was I even worrying about again?" I think to myself as Eilee and Joe Centeno sing about narrowing the hundred-million mile distance between two people down to an actual planetary collision.

The title track opens with some crunchy chords and a catchy little guitar hook from Joe. It's a song about finding and being yourself, Eilee singing, "I'm cruising tonight, on the road to who I am." The song bounces on top of some simple but rocking rhythms provided by 10 year-old drummer Evren Centeno and bassist Gloree Centeno. "Gold glitter shoes, rockin' to your own tunes. Never seen this side of you. Oh, I love this side of you." Ear to ear.

"Livin' the Lost Boy Life" is the EP's hardest rocker, complete with some Joan Jett-style vocal flourishes and a big guitar solo. I can identify when Joe sings, "And I know I don't wanna grow up." I feel like it's coming from the same place as the advice from the band's first EP, "Don't waste your time getting old."

"I Want Something More" uses a high-speed call and response to beg for some real-life human connection instead of the kind that happens over tiny little electronic screens. "Stay Up All Night" captures the feeling of being young and curious to the point of not even being able to sleep. "Miracles" seems to suggest that we stop worrying so much about where we're going and start focusing more on the journey we're taking to get there.

The set closes with a cover of The Go-Gos' "We Got the Beat." Stylistically, with its upbeat pop punk sound, the song fits right in with everything that The Rock n Roll Hi Fives do. And thematically, it's a spot-on description of this family band. I'm sure they go through all the same ups and downs as any family of four, but they connect with each other and with us by sharing music.

You can stream / purchase Gold Glitter Shoes at The Rock n Roll Hi Fives Bandcamp page. Just try not to smile.

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